Matzie: More than $1 million in funding to help area food banks meet greater demand

(May 21, 2020)

AMBRIDGE, May 21 – Area food banks will receive more than $1.4 million in state grants to help them meet the increased demand and greater food insecurity created by the COVID-19 pandemic, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today. “Our local food banks have always been important in helping residents combat food insecurity, but with the onset of this pandemic, their services are more critical than ever – and they are being called on to reach a much larger number of residents,” Matzie said. “Thanks to this funding, these important providers will be able to purchase the additional equipment and vehicles they need to meet this increasing demand safely and efficiently.” Some of the grants include – $200,000 to the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. $145,027 to Beaver Falls Youth Network d/b/a Tiger Pause Youth Ministry. $133,416 to Faith Restorations. $53,341 to Adagio Health Inc. The grants are administered by the Department of Environmental Protection and are part of a $9.6 million package awarded to 145 food projects throughout the state. Providers may use the funding to purchase equipment such as refrigerated or non-refrigerated trucks, industrial refrigerators and pallet jacks. More information on the grants is available here. Read more

 

Matzie: More than $450,000 in funding to help Beaver County child care providers safely reopen

(May 21, 2020)

AMBRIDGE, May 21 – Federal funding of $450,100 under the CARES Act will help support Beaver County child care providers as they prepare to reopen their doors, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today. Matzie said that as Beaver County reopens, it’s important to ensure that these businesses are up and running, with proper protections in place. “As Beaver County businesses begin opening their doors, parents will once again turn to trusted child care providers protect and nurture their kids. But these providers – like other businesses forced to close during the pandemic – have felt the impact of the shutdown profoundly. “Now, as they begin reopening, they face the added challenge of ensuring that the proper safety protocols are in place to protect our kids. This funding is going help ensure that they have the staff, training, equipment and other resources they need to get back up and running while continuing to provide safe havens for our kids.” The funding is part of an initial $51 million round of funding that will go to nearly 7,000 child care centers statewide preparing to reopen In all, Pennsylvania will receive a total of $106 million in funding to support child care providers. The second round of funding will be allocated after completion of a study assessing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Pennsylvania’s child care providers. Read more

 

Wheatley announces $378,000 in grants to assist community food banks, shelters

(May 21, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, May 21 – Approximately $378,544 in state grants have been awarded to several nonprofit organizations in Allegheny County and the city of Pittsburgh that provide food assistance, state Rep. Jake Wheatley announced today. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said the following organizations have received a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Food Recovery Infrastructure Grant Program: Mt. Ararat Community Activity Center (Allegheny County): $130,000 Earthen Vessels Outreach (Allegheny County): $40,699 Alpha House Inc. (Allegheny County): $74,157 Latino Community Center (Allegheny County): $4,373 Community Kitchen Pittsburgh: $93,600 Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania Northside Food Pantry: $35,725 “The grants allow these organizations the necessary funds to cover costs of equipment purchases so they can properly prepare, transport and store food they receive from farms, wholesalers and retailers,” Wheatley said. “Our food banks and shelters do so much to help those in need, especially during this pandemic, and these funds will ensure food can be quickly stored and properly prepared to ensure it doesn’t go to waste.” Examples of eligible equipment include refrigerated or non-refrigerated box trucks, industrial-sized refrigerators, pallet jacks and/or dollies. More information on the grant program can be found at this link: Read more

 

Ravenstahl votes to support Senior Protection Act

(May 20, 2020)

Bill would use $500M in federal funds to tackle coronavirus in nursing homes Read more

 

Ravenstahl, lawmakers ask Gov. Wolf to revise guidelines for restaurants

(May 18, 2020)

Letter asks governor to allow for outdoor seating as summer approaches Read more

 

Matzie: Governor has listened and responded; Beaver County to reopen May 22

(May 15, 2020)

AMBRIDGE, May 15 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement today that Beaver County will move to the “yellow,” open phase of the state’s reopen plan on May 22. “I’m pleased the governor responded to our requests. The people in our county did their part, and ultimately, the data showed that we were ready for the next phase in safely re-opening our county. “These are unprecedented times. There is no foolproof instruction manual on how to deal with a global pandemic. It is inevitable that some governmental decisions may not work out as intended or be well received. “This announcement, along with the recent action taken by the Department of Health at Brighton Rehab and in long-term care facilities statewide, although long overdue, shows that the administration is listening. “I’m well aware that this phase does not send everyone back to work or reopen every business. But it’s a safe first step back towards life as we knew it.” Read more

 

Merski, Kortz bills would lower hunting, fishing fees for frontline workers

(May 14, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 14 – Pennsylvania’s health care workers and first responders would pay just $1 for one-year hunting and fishing licenses under legislation being introduced by state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, and state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny. The lawmakers said they will be introducing the bills as a way to thank these frontline workers for their lifesaving efforts and to encourage them to take advantage of the state’s abundant fish and game opportunities. “Pennsylvania’s health care professionals and first responders have been there for us 24/7 throughout this pandemic, working tirelessly to save lives even when doing so puts their own lives at risk,” said Merski, who is a member of the House Game and Fisheries Committee. “Words are barely adequate to thank them, but we can give back in small ways. Offering reduced fees on hunting and fishing licenses is one way to do that while encouraging these frontline heroes to relax outdoors.” Kortz, the Democratic chairman of the committee, agreed, saying “Our first responders and health care workers have and are working in extremely unprecedented times and dealing with enormous amounts of stress. Being able to offer them these reduced licenses will encourage them to spend time outdoors and relax. This is just one way we can show our appreciation and tremendous thanks for all they do to help save lives and keep us safe.” The Read more

 

Ravenstahl co-sponsors bill to help small business, nonprofits weather COVID storm

(May 14, 2020)

Legislation introduced this week would inject $100m into existing state loan program Read more

 

Wheatley applauds confirmation of Khadija Diggs to Pa. Parole Board

(May 14, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, May 14 – Today state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, announced the unanimous confirmation vote of Khadija Diggs, Esq., to the Pennsylvania Parole Board from the state Senate. Diggs, from Verona, Allegheny County, has an extensive legal background, having worked as an assistant solicitor for the City of Pittsburgh Law Department, the Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender, and with the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania. She currently serves as assistant legal counsel for the Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel. Diggs is a commission member for the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for General, Racial and Ethnic Fairness and earned her juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law. “I am proud and honored in the governor’s nomination of Khadija to this board,” said Wheatley. “She has a proven track record of success in the legal profession, including her current work in the state Office of General Counsel, not to mention her ongoing volunteer efforts serving the greater Pittsburgh community and statewide. I am confident Khadija’s experience, expertise and drive will further enhance the board in its mission to promote public safety and ensure a fair, efficient and transparent parole process that’s respectful of all people in our commonwealth.” "She's someone I believe will be an outstanding addition to the board,” Read more

 

Lee urges local school districts to apply for share of $523 million COVID emergency funding

(May 14, 2020)

Funding can be used for a wide range of purposes including technology, food, summer programs Read more

 

Kortz: Time to expand Fish for Free days in Pa.

(May 13, 2020)

DRAVOSBURG, May 13 – State Rep. Bill Kortz will soon introduce a bill that would require the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to declare four statewide Fish for Free days each year. Kortz, D-Allegheny, said the commission declares two Fish for Free days each year, allowing anyone (resident or non-resident) to legally fish in state waterways without a fishing license with all other fishing laws and regulations remaining in effect. In past years, he said, the commission has declared one of those days to be held over the Memorial Day weekend and another Fish for Free day scheduled during the July 4 weekend. However, bad weather on either one or both of those days can be disappointing and defeat the purpose of encouraging this safe, fun activity, Kortz added. “That’s why I want to expand the Fish for Free program to require the executive director of the commission to declare four such days each year, allowing more opportunities for people to take part,” Kortz said. “Fishing is a great way to spend time outdoors and is a welcome respite during these challenging times, and expanding these opportunities will result in more Pennsylvanians giving fishing a try.” More information on his pending legislation can be found at this link: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=31782 Read more

 

Gainey thankful for mobile COVID testing in Homewood, urges community to get tested

(May 13, 2020)

Says testing key to identifying, slowing the spread of the Coronavirus Read more

 

Wheatley: Virtual MWDBE scheduled for May 14

(May 12, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, May 12 – Due to ongoing concerns related to COVID-19, state Rep. Jake Wheatley has announced that the Minority Women and Disadvantaged Business Event he hosts annually will now be held virtually beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 14. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said a variety of agencies and organizations are scheduled to take part in the event, including the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the POISE Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, Rivers Innovation and the Pittsburgh Black Elected Officials Coalition. To join the virtual MWDBE event, please click on the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/virtual-town-hall-meeting-for-small-business-tickets-104200632898 . Read more

 

Reps. Fiedler, Lee to introduce state COVID financial relief legislation

(May 11, 2020)

Legislation would provide $250 payment to every adult Pennsylvanian Read more

 

Readshaw: Allegheny County to transition into ‘yellow’ reopening status

(May 08, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, May 8 – Allegheny County is slated to transition from a red to a yellow reopening designation, effective at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 15, state Rep. Harry Readshaw announced today. “The data is clear that the collective sacrifices we’ve made have led us to this moment,” Readshaw said. “This announcement means that many of our small businesses can see, without question, the ability to open up and operate, so long as they follow safe operating guidelines. It also means that we’ll be able to move forward in our communities and work together in this pandemic recovery process. “It’s important as we look toward making the final transition from yellow to green that we remain vigilant with the necessary precautions, so as to not slip backward. We must move forward as safely as possible.” Counties in the yellow designation must follow the following restrictions. Work-related restrictions Telework must continue where allowed and feasible. Businesses with in-person operations must follow business and building safety orders. Childcare facilities must comply with state guidelines. Congregate care and prison restrictions remain in place. School buildings will remain closed to in-person instruction. Social restrictions Stay-at-home order lifted for aggressive mitigation. Large gatherings of more than 25 Read more

 

Reps. Wheatley, Deasy urge governor to waive liquor license fees for bars, restaurants

(May 08, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 8 – State Reps. Jake Wheatley and Dan Deasy have sent a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf requesting that liquor license fees be waived for restaurants and bars, citing the devastating impacts the industry has experienced due to the pandemic. Wheatley and Deasy, both D-Allegheny, said community restaurants and bars have either had to close or significantly curb their hours and operations in order to slow the spread of the virus. They have requested the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board waive or refund this year's license renewal and/or validation fees for liquor licensees that have remained closed or that have demonstrated significant loss of 25% or more to their business. “These businesses truly deserve a break, especially when you consider that many of them have already experienced significant losses of income,” said Wheatley, Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee. “They’ve been responsible and what better way can we help them get back on their economic feet than to give them this break on the liquor license fees. It’s the right thing to do.” “It is critical that we help our local restaurants and bars in their time of need, because these establishments connect communities,” said Deasy, Democratic chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee. “We cannot sit back and watch these businesses that provide not only employment but are the fabric of our community. They bring us Read more

 

Ravenstahl: Socially distanced school commencements difficult, but right choice

(May 07, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, May 7 – As the continuing coronavirus crisis upends many aspects of our society and traditions, state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, D-Allegheny, said today he supports the North Hills and Northgate school districts’ difficult decisions to hold socially distant commencements for seniors. “These trying times have forced all of us to make difficult decisions, have upended many things we take for granted, and have broken many of our cherished traditions. I know how much our seniors – and their families -- were looking forward to their end-of-school celebrations. But, as this deadly virus continues to spread through our communities, we must put public and student safety first,” Ravenstahl said. “After consulting with both Northgate and North Hills administrations, I appreciate the difficult decision they have had to make, and I support them. “Unfortunately, we are in a situation where there are no right answers. There is no playbook for how to hold a commencement ceremony in a viral pandemic. I appreciate the hard work of all of our educators, administrators and staff, and I know that they are doing the best they can for their students, many of whom they look upon almost as family members. And while I wish that our senior could have had a normal year, I know that they will rise to the challenges of today, will emerge stronger for it and be ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.” While Read more

 

Deasy introduces resolution that calls for freeze in utility rate increase proposals

(May 06, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 6 – Noting the sudden and unexpected loss of income incurred by Pennsylvania residents and small business owners due to COVID-19, state Rep. Dan Deasy, D-Allegheny, has introduced a resolution urging the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to put a freeze on all requests for utility rate increases through 2020. “Residents are experiencing financial hardships, unemployment rates are through the roof, and the public and state assistance offered to families and small businesses is but a small drop in a bucket to address the of loss of income and financial insecurity because of COVID-19,” Deasy said. “You’d think during a time like this, we’d see more compassion, but unfortunately that’s not the case, especially with utility companies. Rate increases are the last thing our struggling residents and businesses should have to worry about, which is why this resolution is so crucial during this global health crisis,” Deasy said. Aside from the increase proposals, Deasy said he was even more disappointed in the scale of which some companies were trying to raise their rates, with at least one company seeking a 24% rate increase. Deasy is the second western House Democrat in recent weeks to call on the PUC to investigate or freeze rate increase proposals received from utility companies. State Rep. Austin Davis, also D-Allegheny, called on the PUC last week to investigate a rate increase proposal Read more

 

Wheatley supports measure to expand coronavirus testing

(May 05, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 5 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, voted in support of a bill designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 and help the state move forward in reopening its economy and ensuring public safety. Wheatley said H.B. 2455 would call for the state to develop a comprehensive testing plan. The bill would also fund research, development and manufacturing of COVID-19 testing equipment and supplies, contact tracing and other measures. In addition, she added the measure would require healthcare and other essential workers to be given testing priority once the plan is activated. “We know people want to get back to work, visit their loved ones and support local businesses, but we have to ensure we have a plan in place that protects us and curbs the virus’ spread,” Wheatley said. “I stand ready to work with my colleagues and state officials to make that happen, and this plan is indeed a step in the right direction.” The bill now moves to the Senate for further action. Read more

 

Davis, Lee, Gainey and Wheatley pen letter of support for COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity

(Apr 28, 2020)

HARRISBURG, April 28 – State Reps. Austin Davis, Ed Gainey, Summer Lee and Jake Wheatley, all D-Allegheny, on Tuesday penned a letter of support to Gov. Tom Wolf praising his administration’s enactment of the COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity , which was designed to help identify how the pandemic is affecting the state’s minority and vulnerable populations. A copy of the joint letter sent to the governor on Tuesday can be found here . “The COVID-19 pandemic – even in its earliest days – quickly shed light on many longstanding issues of inequality faced by minority communities,” Davis said. “Unfortunately, these are key issues these minority populations have dealt with for many years, COVID-19 just illuminated it for the rest of the state to see. So, while I’m hopeful and grateful for the institution of this task force, it’s my sincerest hope that this produces real results, saves lives and leads to longstanding change for Pennsylvania’s minority communities.” Lee added: “The coronavirus has brought to the surface all of the structural inequalities that marginalized communities in our state are dealing with – including those in our healthcare system. While I appreciate this effort, I would also hope that this task force is a starting point for us as a society to acknowledge and address the disparities in our healthcare Read more

 

Matzie: More than $1 million in funding to help area food banks meet greater demand
May 21, 2020

Matzie: More than $450,000 in funding to help Beaver County child care providers safely reopen
May 21, 2020

Wheatley announces $378,000 in grants to assist community food banks, shelters
May 21, 2020

Ravenstahl votes to support Senior Protection Act
May 20, 2020

Ravenstahl, lawmakers ask Gov. Wolf to revise guidelines for restaurants
May 18, 2020

Matzie: Governor has listened and responded; Beaver County to reopen May 22
May 15, 2020

Merski, Kortz bills would lower hunting, fishing fees for frontline workers
May 14, 2020

Ravenstahl co-sponsors bill to help small business, nonprofits weather COVID storm
May 14, 2020

Wheatley applauds confirmation of Khadija Diggs to Pa. Parole Board
May 14, 2020

Lee urges local school districts to apply for share of $523 million COVID emergency funding
May 14, 2020

Kortz: Time to expand Fish for Free days in Pa.
May 13, 2020

Gainey thankful for mobile COVID testing in Homewood, urges community to get tested
May 13, 2020

Wheatley: Virtual MWDBE scheduled for May 14
May 12, 2020

Reps. Fiedler, Lee to introduce state COVID financial relief legislation
May 11, 2020

Readshaw: Allegheny County to transition into ‘yellow’ reopening status
May 08, 2020

Reps. Wheatley, Deasy urge governor to waive liquor license fees for bars, restaurants
May 08, 2020

Ravenstahl: Socially distanced school commencements difficult, but right choice
May 07, 2020

Deasy introduces resolution that calls for freeze in utility rate increase proposals
May 06, 2020

Wheatley supports measure to expand coronavirus testing
May 05, 2020

Davis, Lee, Gainey and Wheatley pen letter of support for COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity
Apr 28, 2020